Antarctic Flags Project 2021-2022 Round-up

It is has been another great year for our ‘flagship’ international outreach project, which pairs schools with scientists and support personnel travelling to Antarctica, who carry copies of flags designed by students to fly on the continent, returning photos and certificates to the schools upon the conclusion of their expeditions.

2021 marked our tenth anniversary of the project, and we were delighted again this year with the interest and involvement we received! Most Antarctic research programs were up and running again post-Covid-19, meaning there were plenty of scientists and operations staff heading South. We sent 176 flags to Antarctica from 138 schools in 9 countries, including UK, Greece, Portugal, Hong Kong, Spain, Romania, Poland, Uganda and Thailand! Most flags have now made their journey back from Antarctica to the schools eagerly awaiting their return.

A selection of flags designed by schools across the globe to celebrate Antarctica. Credit: UK Polar Network


The project takes place as a celebration of Antarctica Day, which marks the signing of the Antarctic Treaty on December 1st 1959, a document declaring that Antarctica would be off limits to military activity and setting it aside as a place for peace and scientific discoveries. Since 2010, December 1st has been celebrated each year to mark this milestone of peace and to inspire future decisions.

Some of the flags in Antarctica with research scientists, field assistants, station staff and research ship crew members!

63 years on, the Antarctic Treaty has expanded to include 54 countries and is a rare example of international cooperation. The Treaty governs much of the politics, activities and responsibilities within the Antarctic continent and waters south of 60 degrees latitude. For example, all scientific observations should be made freely available to all researchers, no military bases or weapons testing are allowed, and the dumping or burning of any rubbish is prohibited.

Alongside designing the flags, we encourage schools to learn about Antarctica, its governance and the Treaty in their lessons. This year we received a diverse range of flag designs, from penguins (by far the most popular!), orcas, icebergs and mountains to designs representing peace and international cooperation.

Watch this space for more beautiful flags and more global connections between science, schools and Antarctica. Look out for details on how to take part in our next Antarctic Flags project in October 2022!

For more information about the Antarctic Flags project, read Chapter 11 of ‘Antarcticness: Inspirations and Imaginaries’, published by UCL Press and available at:

Jenny Arthur and Fiona Old (2021-22 Antarctic Flags project coordinators)

Twitter: @UKPolarNetwork, @AntarcticJenny, @fiona_616